Middlesbrough pushing for Daniel Ayala deal

Middlesbrough's Daniel Ayala celebrates their second goal

HITC Sport understands Boro are anxious to finalise contract for star defender

Middlesbrough's Daniel Ayala celebrates their second goal

Middlesbrough are hopeful that they can tie up a deal for star defender Daniel Ayala, HITC Sport understands.

The 25-year-old has just 12 months left on his current contract at The Riverside, where has shone since signing from Norwich City in 2013.

Ayala was widely seen as the best defender outside the Premier League over the past two seasons and he was a leading figure in Middlesbrough's promotion last season, and his performances understandably caught the attention of a host of rival clubs.

Boro's promotion though has put them back into the driving seat to secure his signature on a new long-term deal - despite the fact they opened talks with him earlier this year, as revealed by HITC Sport.

Middlesbrough's Daniel Ayala celebrates after the final whistle

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez is a huge fan, and he would love to take him to St James' Park; and contrary to reports, they have not been scared off by any asking price as they know they that if no new deal is signed by January Boro could then be forced to sell or risk losing him for nothing next summer.

Premier League champions Leicester City are also believed to be monitoring the situation along with a number of La Liga clubs. B but Boro are hoping that Ayala - who has settled well in the North East - will put pen to paper sooner rather than later.

Sources close to the club have told HITC Sport that they believe a deal is 'very close' to being done.

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